The Closer to the Bone – The Sweeter the Meat?

“The Closer to the Bone–The Sweeter the Meat –Last Slice of Virginia Ham is the Best that you can Eat”

This 1957 song by Louis Prima wasn’t really referring to meat or chicken—but political correctness keeps me from going there.  However, this phrase really does have a mythological (or not) background when it comes to the taste of meat and chicken.  For years, there has been a dialog about which tastes better.  Boneless chicken or bone-in chicken.

This topic came to mind the other day as I was reading an article in USA Today.  I quote, “KFC has developed a new line of boneless chicken (boneless white and dark meat chunks about twice the size of a chicken tender) that executives say could be KFC’s complete new standard—–edging out ‘traditional’ bone in chicken within the next five years.”  The target: an ultra-finicky generation of millennials.

Now, here is where I start to disagree.  Millennials might not be into bones—but they are most certainly into authenticity—or at least the perception of it. This take us back to the original question—which actually tastes better??

Here’s my take on it——there are many reasons I believe “bone-in” product tastes better.

First—between the bones and the meat—there is a connective tissue membrane that is mostly made of a protein called collagen.  This collagen partially turns to a gel when heated.  This gelatinized collagen is a major contributor to the richness and mouthfeel of the chicken.

Second—Bones have an impact on heat transmission.  So, depending on how long you cook it—the meat closer to the bone can be slightly less cooked than the rest of the meat. This can make it slightly more tender and juicer than boneless product.  (because most people over cook chicken).

Third—Bone seals the muscle from losing juices as it is cooked.  So, when a muscle is deboned—there is usually a large area that is exposed muscle—-no longer sealed to maintain juices.

Mr. Prima was right in my opinion—-closest to the bone—-the sweeter the meat!!

But we won’t make you choose – Rogers Poultry sells both so you have the best of both worlds!!!


George Saffarrans